Back to the Real World

So it is with great sadness that I come to the end of my current stint of training, I have created 6 paintings at the Sarum Studio, 3 of which are destined for the bin, and 3 turned out surprisingly well, including the one below. They are all of the same model – I was surprised that my teacher let us work together after the first one as we were really quite chatty, in a mostly quiet room full of concentrating artists, I am already banned from working with another artist for the same reason, we had far too much fun! (Whilst working hard of course)


It has been hugely challenging , I feel as though I have learned so much from the tuition, and I am excited about putting my new skills into practice in future, I will definitely continue my studies when I have saved up again and already miss everyone there.

It is strange being back in Blandford again, and re-opening the gallery which was looking terribly neglected, but I return to many new exciting projects, alongside an attempt to get fit, oh and lots of paperwork.

I have had some interesting photoshoots over the years. I did an outdoor shoot for 2 good sized portraits alongside their dogs near London this February, brrrrr, frozen hands. One of the models – a huge Alsatian guard dog was definitely considering me for dinner. The people were lovely and welcoming and gave us a very tasty lunch, so a great day was had all round.


After celebrating Easter at The Sarum Studio with a pair of bunny ears, four furry guests turned up at the gallery in the shape of the most adorable rescue bunnies. I was only expecting two, and the challenge of getting bunnies to pose together took quite a while, as they happily hopped around.
It was so enjoyable, I would definitely consider a career as a professional bunny photographer; I am looking forward to painting them and will post a blog when they are finished.

I completed another military photoshoot too, neither chilly or fluffy, variety is the spice of life!

Loving Salisbury!

The end of week six at the Old Masters training, following our half term the week before – a much needed rest from pretty much everything. I have ramped up my hours working on commissions for customers at the Wren Hall too. I do this before and after my training each day. Starting artwork before 8am was initially quite traumatic for this night-owl, but I am starting to get used to it now, and enjoying working high up in the building, with old leaded windows overlooking the stunning Salisbury Cathedral. The tutor Nick is trying to get the heating working up there, but I don’t mind working in the near Arctic conditions – the room has it’s own climate much like my home! The odd hot drink to hold when my hands start to go numb works wonders.

I booked a tour of the cathedral tower with a friend from the course, if anyone ever gets the chance to do this, I highly recommend it. Apart from the almost unbelievable facts about how it was built during the medieval times, the views from the spire are just incredible. The building seems a lot higher once you get up there. Around 80,000 tons of materials were used, and apart from the spire, it was built in just 38 years! The medieval transport could only carry 1 ton per trip…. After climbing many many steps, the inside of the spire was a seemingly higgledy piggledy tangle of huge pieces of wood, and very tall indeed.

It has also been a week of new orders – I have 3 more confirmed and there are a lots which will unfold over the next few months, a few photo-shoots need an outdoor backdrop when the weather improves and spring is here.

I am planning more sleep this week, and to get on top of my paperwork, I blink and seem to have another 5 tasks to get through. The ‘things to do’ lists are quite long but I am on it! Surprisingly considering that February is my least favourite month, and the urge to hibernate is quite strong. Sitting at home typing this with the wood-burner gorgeous warmth I am thankful for being cosy.

And no art blog is complete without an image of my work, so here is an oil painting of a very cute dog, 12″ x 16″. The photo-shoot happened in the gallery, and it was such a hot day last summer. The requirement was for his mouth to be closed, however, with the sun streaming in my huge windows, and the dog having just come back from a walk, he flopped on the floor and spent nearly the entire time panting with his tongue hanging out. I luckily captured the split second when he was looking just right.

You can see him and more animal portraits including a newly added image of Canford Cliffs being ridden by top jockey Richard Hughes on the gallery page.

Annabelle Valentine

Pet portrait of a dog in Oils

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